Interesting Airport Design Secrets


Holiday, Travel

When visiting the airport we can be rushing around, full of excitement or busy browsing the shops while we wait for our flight. We pay little attention to the design elements that surround us. However, a lot of planning and research goes into the design of an airport to make travellers feel relaxed and ready to shop. Some of the below design secrets you may find interesting and could even be a topic of conversation the next time you are at an airport bar chatting to the traveller next to you! 


Airport Departure Amp Arrival Information Board Sign

Over 75% of all airports worldwide use just three typefaces to make up their directional signage. The reasoning behind this is the signage needs to be easily read from a distance and travellers have a sense of familiarity between airports.

The three font families used are: Helvetica, Frutiger, Clearview


Is known as being a neutral and classic font. The distinctive lowercase ‘a’ stands out from an ‘o’ – this is important when travellers are reading this from a distance at speed.


This typeface was designed by Adrian Frutiger for the Parisian Charles de Gaulle airport in 1975. This was created to complement the contemporary architecture of the airport. This font is distinctive as there is a wider space for the opening of letters such as ‘e’ and ‘n’.


The final popular font used in airports is Clearview which originated in America and was firstly used on the American interstate highway system. This font is distinctive as the capital and leading letters are a little raised from the others.


Bangkok Thailand November 28 2016 Duty Free Shop In

The journey between security and boarding your plane is usually filled with duty-free shopping zones. Once travellers have cleared security they are usually relaxed and in holiday mode. Airports use this to their advantage as travellers are inclined to be early and will browse as they make their way to their boarding gate. You are most likely to treat yourself or spoil someone you are visiting by enjoying some carefree shopping after the stressful process of queuing and going through security. 

Relaxation areas

Helsinki Finland May 27 2018 Sleep Pods At Helsinki

The more relaxed travellers are the more likely they are to spend. Airports all around the world offer facilities such as massage chairs, showers and sleeping areas to assist in the comfort of their travellers. The less stressed a traveller feels on their journey the more likely they are to indulge in a little shopping or pick up some gifts for friends and family. Research has shown that travellers who feel relaxed and at ease spend 7% more on retail and 10% more on duty-free items in comparison with their stressed-out counterparts.

The Golden Hour 

Airliner Taking Off From Frankfurt Airport During Golden Hour The

Golden Hour is a common term used by airport officials and duty-free retail workers for the time when passengers have cleared security and are waiting to board their plane. Passengers are at their peak relaxed phase. The stress of planning trips, clearing security is all behind them and the chances of them spending duty-free is at their highest.

Airports have worked to streamline the security process to maximise the chances of passengers spending duty-free. The smoother their transition through security is, the higher the chances they will shop. 


Close Up Of View Hands Women Holding Smartphone Display On

Almost everything can be done by mobile phone from tracking incoming flights, checking in online to purchasing a coffee while you wait to board. This makes the process as seamless as possible for passengers.

Natural Light

Silhouette Of A Airport At Sunset

Large windows play a substantial role in the design of the building, natural light plays a key role to help passengers feel at ease and comfortable in their surroundings. This is an important part of creating an enjoyable and healthy atmosphere for those who work in the airport and for travellers passing through.


Man Driving Floor Scrubber Or Floor Cleaning Device Of Cleaning

Ever wondered why some sections of the airport such as the boarding are carpeted while others like the main traffic areas are typically hard surfaces? You would think it would be easier if the entire airport was a hard floor for both moving luggage along with easy cleaning. However, airport designers place carpets in certain areas such as the gates where travellers wait, as a way to relax passengers just before take-off. Carpets are thought to provide a soft and cosy feeling reminding passengers of a living room or a home.


Hamad Airport Quatar July 9 2021 Whimsical Bronze Sculptures

A lot of airports display art, these pieces may be from local artists to the area’s culture or exhibit large pieces of art from world-renowned artists. This decision to exhibit these works of art brings more than just aesthetic benefits.

Placing art in certain points at the airport brings value to the airport. It acts as both a welcome distraction and entertainment for passengers, relaxing or comforting anxious or tired passengers. An art exhibition can also be a welcome distraction for parents trying to entertain children while waiting idly in an airport. 

The placement of certain larger pieces of art can act as a landmark for passengers trying to navigate through an airport. A passenger rushing through an airport getting a connecting flight may recognise a sculpture or direct a fellow passenger there as a meeting point.

The next time you are browsing duty-free or trying to find your gate, don’t forget to take note of some of the design secrets that create that airport atmosphere! One thing that is not a secret is the high-quality service and low prices you will receive when using Park on King.

Make your trip as stress-free as possible and choose Park on King. We offer a range of services including a car wash and shuttle bus to make your trip from the car park to the terminal as seamless as possible. Get an instant quote for your airport parking now.

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